Eastern Conference power rankings: Which teams are actually better than the Celtics?
For C's fans like me who enjoy over-analyzing the small sample of results we've seen so far in 2015-16, several interesting things happened across the NBA last night:
First, Toronto played well but lost a hard-fought game at Golden State, 115-110. The 6-4 Celtics (.600) are now leading the Atlantic Division, ahead of the 7-5 Raptors (.583). This means literally nothing, but hey, first place is first place.
Second, Miami fell at home by 12 to Kevin Garnett and the baby T-Wolves (who are somehow 0-5 in their own building but 5-1 on the road), dropping the Heat's record to 6-4. Because of its better conference record, Boston is ahead of Miami in the East standings, fourth overall (see above ESPN.com screenshot).
Third, Atlanta stumbled in Brooklyn to the now 2-9 Nets. At 8-5, the Hawks (who lost by 13 at the TD Garden last week) are only half a game ahead of the C's in the standings.
And finally, LeBron and the Cavs were beaten by five in Detroit, leaving the Celtics just 1.5 games back of the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed (it's fun to dream, right?). But even more importantly, the defeat knocked Cleveland's overall scoring margin down to +6.1, behind Boston's +6.6. The Warriors (+15.3) and Spurs (+10.8) are the only teams in the league with better point differentials than the Celtics.
Based on these and other early-season results, here is my totally subjective answer to the question of whether or not each team in the East is better than Boston: